What is Ayurveda?

Indian subcontinent over 5,000 years ago: deep in meditation, the Rishis (enlightened sages) transcended into pure consciousness with the intention to bring relief to humankind from disease. According to the main text of Ayurveda, the Charaka Samhita, the Rishis received the wisdom of healthcare through several meditations. Much of Ayurveda’s vast knowledge has been lost due to the history of conquest and wars, but precious information still remains and is used all over the world today.

Ayurveda: the science of life.

Ayurveda (Indian medicine) is about balance with our own nature. Balance within our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies and a harmony with the world around us. We all have our karma and paths to follow in this life, and Ayurveda is designed to keep us healthy as we do our bidding in this world. Through appropriate diet, lifestyle, and herbal remedies, it accomplishes this by our own desire to be in control of our health. It is a gentle practice which works well with any health care we may already be receiving.

The Elements

The view of the world through the eyes of Ayurveda took me some time to get used to. We are not taught to think of the world through the elements in the West: earth, air, fire, water and ether. But once I was able to wrap my mind around it, I see these elements and evidence of their movement everywhere.

  • air: movement, wind of change
  • ether: that which fills empty spaces
  • fire: brings heat and is associated with digestion of food and thoughts
  • earth: brings stability, grounding, that which supports things
  • water: flow, cooling, brings moisture

The Doshas

The main concept of Ayurveda is in the doshas which are made up of the five elements. The doshas are our constitution, what we are made up of. This depends on our karma (genetics). All of us are made up of these five elements but some run stronger in our bodies than others. The qualities of the elements which make up our individual constitutions can be seen in our personalities, physical appearance, and health symptoms we may be experiencing in our bodies.

  • Vata dosha: air & ether. The qualities for vata are cool, airy, dry, and flowing. People of vata constitution are artistic, airy in personality, joyful, independent, and like to dedicate their time to several projects at once. At their worst, they can experience a lack of grounding, feel scattered, not eat very much or have a tendency to skip meals, have a difficult time finishing projects, and can be overly sensitive.
  • Pitta dosha: fire with a bit of water. The qualities for pitta are fiery, hot, rough. People of pitta constitution are driven, determined, and goal oriented. They like to finish tasks in a timely manner, are straight to the point, efficient leaders, and intelligent. They like information and their minds (and stomachs) like lots to chew on! At their worst, pitta constitution can experience heated anger & emotions, physical symptoms which manifest as heated: rashes, indigestion, heart related diseases. They are more likely to overwork themselves and feel burned out.
  • Kapha dosha: earth and water. The qualities for kapha are moist, stable, and cool. People of kapha constitution are sweet and gentle by nature, are family oriented, accomplish their goals with a steady pace, and represent unconditional love. At their worst, they indulge in heavy foods that keep them ‘stuck’, or can experience this mentally/emotionally, they tend to hoard items and people (severe attachments).

How does Ayurveda relate to you? 

Ayurveda can restore balance to your life by focusing on your physical, mental, and spiritual symptoms. Working with a practitioner (at your own pace), will help in integrating the concepts of the practice into your life over the course of several visits…or however long you need support.

In an initial Ayurveda consultation, your practitioner will go over the symptoms you are experiencing that you wish to receive relief from. Along with your detailed medical history, the practitioner will take your pulse, study your tongue, and do a basic Ayurveda physical examination in order to determine your prakruti (constitution) and your vikruti (imbalances).

After the initial consultation, you will have a Report of Findings meeting with your practitioner in where he/she will provide information on your Ayurvedic constitution, imbalances, and go over a plan in which you can both work together towards bringing your body back to balance with itself.

The follow up visits in Ayurveda with your practitioner will go over the areas where you have experienced success and challenges, congratulating you in the successes and providing creative support for the areas of struggle.

The wonderful part of Ayurveda is that, as a patient, you can begin to experience relief from health symptoms by integrating the practice at your own pace and participating in your own healing journey. You will not only experience a healthier state of being, but you will increase the connection and self-awareness you have with your body, which is always a positive thing.

Healing through education.

My intention with this blog is to educate others about Ayurveda as a healing practice and how it can bring balance to your life through a series of articles. I wish to share all I know and continue to discover about the practice here. Please feel free to send me an email or post comments/questions here. Om.

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About chesterama

Ayurveda Practitioner, Yoga Instructor, Fantasy Writer, Wilderness girl.
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